Dr Carson Revives Dangerous “Health Savings Account” Zombie from 2012
October 26, 2015

 
Share

I have a long standing rule not to criticize truly awful GOP Primary candidates when they are winning. “When your opponent(s) are digging themselves into a hole, the only thing you should hand them is a shovel.” I’m going to break that rule this week because Dr. Ben Carson has decided to bring back a dangerous (and arguably deadly) idea from the 2012 election that a disturbing number of Conservative voters think is a good idea: doing away with Medicare/Obamacare (remember “Keep your government hands off my Medicare“?) and replacing them with “Health Savings Accounts”, only this time with a convoluted scheme that would impress even Rube Goldberg.

The GOP version went something like this: instead of everyone paying into Medicaid (an astoundingly safe & successful single-payer health insurance program run by the government), let people choose to “opt out” of Medicaid and put their money into a tax-free “Health Savings Account”, similar to an IRA, from which you pay your medical bills should you ever get sick. The “advantage” of such a scheme Conservatives argue is that the money remains in your possession should you ever need it for something else. Now, if you have a brain larger than a walnut, you can probably already see the (multitude of) problems with that. THAT is the GOP plan from 2012 (pdf). Carson’s new version supposedly “fixes” those flaws. Try to follow along as he “explains” his version of HSA’s to NBC’s Chuck Todd yesterday:
 

Carson explain his “Health Savings Account” scheme (2:18)

 

(Quite honestly, I could have dedicated this week’s entire post to Carson’s insane interview, but that could take weeks. This segment was following an equally disturbing ten minutes defending his prolific use of Nazi analogies to justify his positions on just about everything. From arguing that the Second Amendment exists to protect us from our our own government (it doesn’t), questioning the value of a mother’s life over that of her unborn child, to saying rape/incest victims should be forced-by-law to carry their unborn babies to term. (Whom exactly he’d prosecute if she didn’t was never asked and remains unclear.)

Todd never asks Carson the most obvious question about Medicare, “What’s wrong with the existing system?”, because HE KNOWS the answer he’d get: to a Conservative ANYTHING connected to the government is bad regardless of how successful it is, because in their mind, a government that “provides for the general welfare” is tantamount to “slavery” (a position he shares with the OTHER Right-Wing nut doctor in the race, Rand Paul.)

So let’s see if we can’t diagram Carson’s “alternative to Medicare”:

Step 1) Make everyone independently wealthy thanks to a roaring economy under his leadership. (You think I’m exaggerating? Watch the video.) That way, we “negate the need for Medicare”. So right off the bat, his plan relies on everyone suddenly striking it rich such that they will be able to pay cash for their health care needs. And just how do we accomplish that? Tax-free “Health Savings Accounts” that can be passed down from Generation to generation. And we KNOW this works because look at all the people who became stinking rich inheriting IRA’s from their parents (that’s snark by the way.) Somehow, I just don’t see a lot of people living paycheck-to-paycheck suddenly being able to sock away enough spare cash to pay for unregulated… because he does away with “ObamaCare” AND the buying power of Medicare… rising medical costs out-of-pocket with enough left over to leave to their children (a plan that doesn’t seem to take into account the prolonged medical costs of aging, people pilfering those accounts like a tax-free piggy bank, or unforeseen economic crisis’ that always seem to pop up during Republican administrations.)

In fact, Carson actually advocates allowing family members to raid their own HSA in order to help another family member pay their medical bills. Carson is a big believer in the Power of Prayer, and you’d better be too if you pilfer your trust fund in hopes you won’t need it. What was it Rep. Grayson said? The Republican Plan: Don’t get sick. But hey, everyone suddenly becoming wealthy enough to pay cash for all their medical expenses could happen, so let’s give him the benefit of the delusion… er, doubt, for a moment.

BTW: Carson acknowledged the “Liberal” meme that “we pay twice as much for our health care than the rest of the world”, but offers no explanation on how to counter it. In fact, quite the opposite. He wants to kill off the two government programs keeping those costs under control. If I had to guess, Carson appears to blame insurance companies for those outrageous healthcare costs. Yet the solution… “single payer” programs like Medicare… would wither & die under his “divert money from Medicare” scheme. Moving on…

Step 2) Insurance companies still have a role though: covering “catastrophic illness” that would decimate most HSA’s. Get them out of the business of covering more lucrative “basic health care” and instead limit them to covering only the mega-costly health care bills. Carson argues that by not having to cover “basic” heath care needs, it’ll save the insurance companies tons of money and drive down premiums. You buy that? No? You’d better because you’re going to have to (literally). Okay, so now you’re now pouring money into TWO forms of medical insurance: your personal HSA AND “catastrophic illness” insurance.

Those “basic” health care policies are where insurance companies make their biggest profits. Carson actually believes that insurance companies will make MORE money… AND charge you less for catastrophic care insurance… if you eliminate all that rarely-used coverage customers pay into and limit them to covering just the most costly long-term procedures. What do you think THOSE premiums will look like? There is nothing more expensive than “end-of-life” care… a cost 90%-95% of us will incur. “Wow” doesn’t begin the capture the mind-numbing stupidity of that Palinesque plan. If we’re all going to strike it rich under President (cough) Carson, it’d better happen damned quick.

Step 3) We don’t actually eliminate Medicare, we just allow people to “opt out”… which underfunds the program, which bankrupts it. It’s not Carson’s fault if underfunding Medicare kills it off. That just proves it wasn’t fit to survive in the first place (“survival of the fittest” seems like an odd defense for someone who doesn’t believe in evolution.) In the Jewish & Muslim faiths, it is a sin to take a life… any life… (“Thou shalt not kill”), so to kill an animal for the meat, they slit it’s throat so they can rationalize that the moment of death does not occur at their hand. It’s the same thing here. Carson doesn’t “kill” Medicare, he just slits its throat, and if it (and the people who depend upon it) dies, well that must have been God’s Will.

The Carson Plan: 1) Everyone becomes fabulously rich. 2) Puts their “spare” cash, once wasted on Medicare, into a Christmas Club. 3) Prays like hell they don’t need it. 4) Buys insurance anyway to cover “catastrophic care” which will be dirt cheap thanks to benevolent insurance companies saving a bundle on checkups and passing the savings onto you. 5) What you don’t spend, you leave to your children. 6) Repeat.

Remember “Let him die!” from the 2012 debate? If a person doesn’t pay into Medicare and refuses (or simply can’t afford) to put money in an HSA or buy insurance and suddenly gets sick, what do we do? Let them die? Conservatives like Carson think Medicare will just take care of people that never paid into the system. Ron Paul believed the burden should fall upon the churches. Who would put money in an HSA or buy insurance if you could be guaranteed care that way?

The raging stupidity of Carson’s plan should come as no surprise. It’s just one more drop of water in the Bucket-o-Crazy that is Ben Carson. Quite honestly, I can’t be entirely certain he wasn’t making it up as he went along. It really sounds like he hadn’t given it a lot of thought.

And you were wondering what it would take to dethrone Donald Trump.
 

Iowa GOP just as crazy as Carson
Iowa GOP poll 151023


Writers Wanted Got something to say? Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is always looking for article submissions to focus on the stories we may miss each week. To volunteer your own Op/Ed for inclusion here, send us an email with an example of your writing skills & choice of topic, and maybe we’ll put you online!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

 
Share

October 26, 2015 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Economy, Election, fake scandals, Greed, Healthcare, Money, myth busting, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity